Supporting gender diversity – Interview with Audra Lamoon, Livewire Performance Consultants

Supporting gender diversity and encouraging conversations to support the growth of women across the industry, David Phillips talks to Audra Lamoon, Chief Happiness Officer and Owner of Livewire Performance Consultants.

Audra Lamoon, Chief Happiness Officer and Owner of Livewire Performance Consultants | BTR News
Audra Lamoon, Chief Happiness Officer and Owner of Livewire Performance Consultants.
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Audra started her career as the ‘worst air hostess you could ever hope to meet’. She happily left but was asked to come back and tell her boss what she’d learned elsewhere in the hospitality industry. This kicked off a career that progressed through hotels, retail, property, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and The Walt Disney Company; and eventually turning around distressed developments for global developers. As Chief Happiness Officer and owner of Livewire Performance Consultants, she’s focused on bringing people, property and service together to generate revenue.

Have you ever struggled to progress in your career?

I was the only woman in one of the big five project management companies in the City of London at the time, and saw men promoted over me, so yes. But I did end up with the biggest account. My approach is ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ – it was the name of a book which helped me to face my fears, hand in my notice and launch my first company.

Have you felt that being a woman has given you an advantage in the industry?

Yes, definitely. In hospitality and retail in particular, it’s a predominantly female environment I found, so is a great place to be! I’ve been fortunate to have many opportunities to be mentored (and to act as a mentor) throughout my career.

Given the industry’s gender gap in leadership, how did you reach your level of success?

I describe myself as a ‘polite stalker’. What I mean is that I’m very persistent, and persistence pays off. It’s also important not to take anything personally and to focus on what needs to be done. It’s all about mindset.

What needs to change to inform the next generation of female leaders about the industry and the roles available to them? Do we need more support for women at school level to understand the opportunity?

I think everyone needs support to understand opportunities in the industry, not just women. In my view though, experience is just as important as education when it comes to getting into this industry, as is emotional intelligence: ‘Will over skill’ is key for me. So, there should be a more even platform for people without college or university qualifications to find opportunities, because experience can be worth more than any qualification.

What does the future look like for women in property and what advice would you give the next generation of female leaders joining the industry?

The future is fabulous! It’s because all the doors are open. In the US, the industry has always been female dominated – and here, I don’t feel it’s been male dominated for long! As to advice, I’d say throw yourself into it. But it’s important to know what your ‘genius zone’ is. We can’t be all things to all people, so build your career around what you’re brilliant at.

Who inspired you/are your role models and who do you admire in the industry?

I’d choose Maya Angelou for her positive affirmations, which I live by. Jessica Pryce-Jones encouraged me to start my own business when I was terrified to do so. She’s a phenomenal trainer. In the US, Tracey Bowers and Melissa White are both people who are at the top of their game in multifamily and they champion women daily. And Debbie Cook, my former boss at Pfizer, saw my potential when I was running the training department and elevated me into the Facilities Department and Project Management to extend my skill set, she is a legend!